Updating your IT network as your business grows is a delicate process, but Oracle's Neil Sholay reckons he has the perfect way to deal with old legacy systems without blowing up day-to-day operations.
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It’s no secret that the innovation cycle has sped up dramatically in the past few years. The time-to-market new digital solutions is near-instant, and in this environment even innovations that are just months old can become obsolete in the blink of an eye (just look at the short shelf-life of most mobile gaming apps for an indication of just how true this is).
Businesses of all sizes need to make sure they can innovate at speed and at scale to stay relevant in the digital economy. And yet, while many established companies have begun to develop their digital vision, the majority are held back from acting on their ambitions by decade-old legacy systems designed to support siloed and hierarchical businesses.
These have grown increasingly complex over the years and become ill-suited to respond to the challenges of new IT developments. They have also left organisations managing a large number of outdated technologies running independently of each other without necessarily contributing towards productivity or profitability.
"A two-speed approach enables organisations to meet the demands of customers and deliver value for the business"
The big struggle for companies today is to become agile enough to put their digital strategies into action. To do so, they must absolutely modernise and consolidate their back-end systems. At the same time, they need to get new services up-and running more quickly to get a jump on young upstarts that aren’t hindered by the same complex infrastructure.
Hence the appeal of taking a two-speed approach to digital transformation, which involves running an agile customer-centric front end alongside a slower transaction-focused legacy back end. By bringing software development into the cloud businesses can quickly build and roll-out compelling applications without relying on their antiquated in-house IT.
In the meantime, they can work at their own pace to consolidate their back-end systems and bring the entire organisation up-to-speed for the digital era.
CIOs and CDOs need to view this as an opportunity, not a daunting process. In an environment where organisational pressures are demanding more revenue generating, or cost saving, outputs from the IT department at a faster speed, traditional models can no longer meet expectations.
By implementing a two-speed approach, organisations are able to meet the mission critical demands of customers and deliver value for the business, while still achieving core objectives of providing cost effective, scalable, efficient, safe and accurate IT systems for the enterprise. Additionally, they are presented with the opportunity to balance all demands from the business and maintain their ever scrutinised IT budgets.
It’s imperative, when companies start looking at implementing a two speed IT strategy, they tackle their operational siloes. There has to be a dialogue between the teams focusing on the more agile application development and those working on the slower back-end system.
They must work together as a cohesive unit to move towards creating a single IT platform and making meaningful strides towards succeeding in the digital economy.
Ultimately, traditional IT does have its place in a modern enterprise. While by no means responsive enough to support real-time responses to the market, back-end systems do excel at handling predictable tasks and helping to manage governance issues. What sets a digital business apart is how it opens up its back-end processes and data to the rest of the organisation, as opposed to maintaining an operational barrier between the two.